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Calling All Green Warriors
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The nation has started its search for this year's Green Celebrities.

Top Chinese film personalities, well-known environmentalists, and grassroots legal officers are expected to make the cut.

Their presence in the field will help the government enhance public's awareness of environmental protection.

From now until December 12, the public is encouraged to vote for Annual Green Celebrities on the website of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), the China Environment Culture Promotion Association (CECPA), and

Initiated by CECPA, the event is supported by many top government departments such as the environment resources committees of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the Ministry of Culture, the General Administration of Radio, Film and TV, and SEPA.

The first Green Celebrities event was held last year.

Klaus Topfer, then executive director of the UN Environmental Program, presented the awards five people last year.

The celebrities included five well-known figures with moving stories and sincere commitments to protecting the environment.

Liang Congjie, who founded the first environmental protection non-government organization (NGO) in China, was one of them. His NGO Friends of Nature has educated a great number of students in China, and kick-started the nation's environmental NGO movement.

"Its development as an education association has drawn more public participation in the nation's environmental protection movement," said Wang Yuqing, vice-minister of SEPA.

Farmers' awareness of ecology conservation is also fundamentally important in order to address the nation's deteriorating ecological situation.

Tian Guirong, one of last year's celebrities and a farmer in Xinxiang, Henan Province, is regarded as an "environmental protection spiritual leader" and was elected to become a village head due to her devotion to the cause.

Other Annual Green Celebrities include a reporter from the People's Daily newspaper who exposed a scandal at Yuanmingyuan Park where membranes were laid in the lakes; a lawyer who fights for the rights of grassroots organizations; and the director of the Environmental Protection Bureau of Taiyuan in Shanxi Province, who helped remove the once heavily-polluted city from the list of most polluted cities in the world.

Organizers believe that this year's nominee selection will attract more attention.

"To fundamentally solve the nation's environmental issues, public participation is a strong driving force, in addition to efforts by the government," Pan Yue, vice-minister of SEPA, said.

(China Daily September 18, 2006)


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